Universal search and its impact


The universal search has an increasingly important role in the “natural” organic search results. By universal search, we mean the set of search results for “mixed” queries with “vertical” search engine results dedicated to images, videos, Google maps, Google News, etc.

How much weight these results have in Google search, you can also see with the naked eye: if we also add paid ads, often in local search, it is not easy to disentangle between map markers, images, carousel of products or “graphic of knowledge” (license plate Wikipedia) for cities and celebrities.

A company decided to quantify this burden and recently published the results of the survey:

  • The study actually shows surprising data: 85% of all research contains mixed results of universal research.
  • Among these videos, keywords are present for 65%, images for 40%, news for 16%, products for 6% and maps for only 1% of search queries.
  • The survey highlights the growth of 6 points (from 75% to 81%) compared to the previous year of the integration of results with vertical motors.
  • In 2013, the results on videos fell by 15% in absolute numbers but were offset (especially in the US) by the Google Shopping product carousels.
  • Images are shown (overall) in 45% of searches and have a higher rotation frequency than any other element.

The number of views has increased significantly (182%) for integrations with Google Shopping and the local search for products, while there has been a decrease in the total number of integrations with the News channel, but not in absolute numbers.

Analyze a Google Universal Search Result

First, we have access to the Wikipedia Paris, a complete result since the content of the link should in principle to learn as much information about the city (history, geography, politics, demography, illustrious characters, etc.). So this is the most relevant result; it is in the first position. Then comes the official website of the city of Paris and an insert about the Parisian news.

We are finally offered results on tourism in Paris, knowing that the person who made the request and screenshot is located in Nouméa (Paris is considered by Google as a destination of tourist interest for the person who has typed the query). On the right, Google’s universal search offers a very “classic” photo of Paris (with the Eiffel Tower of course) and a Google Map of the city. Then came a short description of the French capital and information on weather, area, population, places of interest, and upcoming events.

In a single page, the user has access to a maximum of information about his request: he does not look further, which limits the number of clicks on sites positioned after these results!

SEO: Should we be afraid of universal research?

As you may have noticed, Google’s universal search is gaining more and more place in its results. News, videos, and images are more and more present on the general results page without having to select the type of format sought (in Google Images, Google Maps, or Google Video for example). Google wants to go further in the user experience, the goal being to succeed in “read in his thoughts” by proposing relevant results (including according to his habits on the web).

In this context, SEO SEOs and site creators must they be afraid to be in the background in a few years? The answer is no! It is still possible to make every effort to meet global demand from Internet users. For this, it is, therefore, necessary to regularly offer different formats. Sticking to editorial content alone is now obsolete!

Improve your natural referencing thanks to universal research, it’s possible!

All is logical if you want to get a place in the results of Google and especially in terms of universal search, you must imperatively diversify your communication media.

Add videos, optimize your photos, offer content related to the news, and do not hesitate to mention the important events related to your activity. If you succeed in appearing in the first results filtered by Google’s universal search algorithm codes, then you will have every chance of getting as much traffic as possible.

It is therefore still time to anchor permanently in the results of our favorite search engine.

What are the various search options that Google offers?

Featured results

Featured Snippet

It consists in presenting in a specific frame some or all of the answer corresponding to the user’s request and refers to the site from which the extract comes (chosen according to criteria of relevance, confidence, and visibility). This block will come to be above traditional organic results; we are talking about position or rank 0. This format will often come to position itself on interrogative type queries and definitions, for example.

Local results

Google My Business

It is a directory service developed and made available for free by Google. On a query for the business name of a local company, the results page will show the My Business form on the right side of the screen with different company information.

A generic query on a business line will sometimes also generate a display of the business My Business listing in case there is no nearby competition.

The My Business form taking 1/3 of the screen surface of the SERP; this represents a great opportunity to become visible and to provide the visitor with practical information about your company (example: opening hours, address, phone number). However, access to this information on the Google results page may deprive the site of some of its traffic.

Local pack

The SERP will provide locally relevant information on a given query. For example, if I type “Bayonne dentist”, all dentists listed in Google My Business will appear as a list embellished with a card. This format is offered on all devices and is particularly visible by its size, especially on mobile.

Local teaser pack

Similar to the local pack, these are 3 local companies presented (often restaurants and hotels) with additional information such as opening hours, notes, pictures, and even prices.

Enriched results


Coming directly into the heart of an organic result (between the title and the destination URL), this format enriches the result with stars (from 0 to 5) and the number of notes issued. This format is often integrated on product sheets and recipes, for example.

Site links

When a user makes a request for a brand name, Google can offer a natural result for it enriched with several pages of the site (the most relevant) and up to the number of 10. If links are links of 10, then the result can take the place of 5 “classic” results which guarantees much higher visibility for the brand.

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